Noodlecat, Sawyer’s next project, was inspired by affordable ramen houses he had patronized while working in New York. He spent three weeks in Japan sampling more than 60 bowls of noodles before returning to dream up his menu, which he refers to as a Japanese-American mash-up. The experience was eye-opening.   “The reverence for ingredients there is pretty amazing,” he recalled. The visit also convinced him to outsource noodle making to a local artisan pasta maker ...

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